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5 reasons why gasoline prices will drop

Reason No. 5: Consumer confidence
Reason No. 5: Consumer confidence © wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

Americans have become increasingly jittery about the economy this year, which means they may be especially thrifty ahead of the winter holidays, Kloza says. They'll buy fewer Christmas gifts, take shorter vacations and stay closer to home.

"When there's fear, particularly economic fear, they'll cut back on driving," Kloza says.

One of the big concerns for consumers this year has been Congress' inability to keep the government open for business. The 16-day shutdown in October forced several hundred thousand workers to stay home and cost the U.S. economy roughly $24 billion, according to an estimate by Standard & Poor's.

"If people are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they'll remain afraid to open up their checkbooks," Beth Ann Bovino, S&P's chief U.S. economist, said in October.

The dysfunction helped weaken consumer confidence to the lowest level since February, according to Bankrate's Financial Security Index. The slide in consumer confidence may not impact gasoline demand as much as the other factors, but Kloza says it should still result in noticeably lower gas prices.

"I'd suspect that we might be looking at a couple of weak weeks for gas demand," he says.

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